Third generation takes reigns at Waukesha-based DUECO

DUECO, a Waukesha-based manufacturer of aerial lifts, digger derricks, cranes and custom truck bodies used by utilities, contractors, municipalities, telecommunications companies and other industries, has passed the leadership of the company to a third generation of the Dalum family.

The company was founded by Clarence Dalum in 1955. He named his son Thomas Dalum president in 1976.

At the beginning of this year, Dalum’s daughter Judie Taylor was promoted to president of DUECO. Joe Dalum, her brother, is DUECO’s executive vice president and also president of Odyne Corp., a DUECO subsidiary. Their sister, Marikris O’Grady, was recently named manager of sales administration at DUECO.

“What is unique about this situation is that we’re a sibling team structured to move the businesses forward for a third generation,” Taylor said. “We’re looking at ways to improve the business based on the incredible foundation that our dad laid out.”

Thomas Dalum is CEO of DUECO, and involved in the long-range planning of the company, both Taylor and Joe Dalum said.

DUECO has developed a series of trucks that are powered with hybrid power systems in recent years. Most of those trucks were developed with technology developed by Odyne. DUECO acquired selected assets from Odyne earlier this year and moved its operations to its Waukesha headquarters from the East Coast. The two companies operate hand in hand on DUECO’s hybrid trucks, Joe Dalum said.

“The two businesses are very complimentary,” he said. “It’s a nice way to have the companies work together and have a management team that also works together.”

DUECO has a total of 386 employees. Its manufacturing is done in its 100,000-square-foot facility in Waukesha, but the company also has facilities in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Minnesota and South Dakota. While many manufacturers are experiencing lower orders, DUECO’s book of business has increased over the last six months – it has hired 25 to 30 new employees in that time frame.

“We were able to secure a couple of large accounts that we had been working on for some time in the January to February timeline that pushed us to the point where we’re at with the levels of business and sales volume being up this year,” Judie said. “These were two Midwestern utilities with three to five year contracts.”

At the same time, DUECO’s existing customers have also ordered new products, Joe Dalum said.

As the third generation of the Dalum family grows into its leadership roles with the company, DUECO will carefully examine entering new markets. Those include utilities that perform underground maintenance, wind power providers and increased activity with railroad utilities.

“We’re always looking for opportunities to expand our operations,” Joe Dalum said. “With our new subsidiary Odyne, we have opportunities to integrate new technology into the medium to heavy duty trucks we produce.”

The company will also look at improvements to its own operations, Taylor said.

“We need to increase our lean manufacturing operations and sustain them,” she said. “That’s another area of improvement – increasing the capacity for improvement and sustaining it.”


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